We had the good fortune of connecting with Melanie Flores and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melanie, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
My favorite quote is “You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.” It reminds me to stay strong even when things are extremely challenging. Sometimes progress happens so slowly that you don’t see it in the moment, but over time the increments add up. It’s also a reminder that we lead, inspire, and influence others by example. Someone is always looking up to you, even if you don’t realize it at the time.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I cofounded OctoGifts with my son Sebastian. We help people discover joy and human connection through fun DIY cards you build yourself. An OctoGift is a cross between a 3D puzzle, a greeting card, and a candy dispenser.
He created the first one for a friend in 5th grade, and since then he’s sold over 400 across 25 states. He has appeared on Atlanta Inno’s 25 Under 25 List, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, VoyageATL magazine’s Most Inspiring Stories, several podcasts, and at Elementary STEM CON 2020.
Sebastian shared our story and lessons learned in a July 23, 2020 VoyageATL Most Inspiring Stories feature which you can check out here!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Old Mill Park in Roswell has a beautiful, family friendly hike that takes you to a scenic covered bridge and a waterfall.
For shopping, I like taking visitors to Junkman’s Daughter in Little Five Points. It’s a quaint store where you’re guaranteed to find something fun and unusual. If they don’t have access to ethnic grocery stores where they live, H Mart offers interesting food and sundries from all over the world (mostly Asia).
For everyday dining, we enjoy Halcyon in Alpharetta. It’s a neighborhood center with cute shops and some of our family’s favorite restaurants such as Gu’s Dumplings and CT Taqueria. For an elegant Italian meal, we like Pricci restaurant in Buckhead.
Another favorite is Oriental Pearl Seafood Restaurant in Chamblee. There’s nothing more fun than Dim Sum. I like the thrill of wondering which carts will pass by our table next and what yummy treasures we’ll find on it.
We also take visitors to the Aquarium and the World of Coca Cola. It’s fascinating to see all the marine life and learn about the history of Coca Cola. The best part of the Coca Cola tour is the tasting room at the end.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m dedicating this shout out to the memory of my grandfather, Dr. Jesus Nolasco. He took great joy in learning his entire life. He inspired my sisters and me to be curious, and he fed our imagination with books, maps, and magazines like National Geographic. He also valued thrift and resourcefulness. An avid do-it-yourselfer, he loved building his own furniture and gadgets. He even designed a playhouse for me and my sisters when we were young, and he and my dad built it together.
We could not have grown OctoGifts without the support of mentors at Tech Alpharetta, GA Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), SCORE, and the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center. Some of the people I’d like to thank include Dale Sizemore, Karen Cashion, Bruce Cutler, Tom Berger, Monique Mills, Bill Hogan, John Avery, Glenn Kruse, Drew Tonsmeire, and Doug Ballin. I’d also like to give my husband Trinidad a shout out for funding OctoGifts.
North Fulton Business RadioX Melanie and Sebastian Flores